Despite incredible advances in data, technology, and innovation in governments, the legislative branch of our federal system continues to struggle to compete in the modern era. Remote hearings and the debate over proxy voting due to COVID-19 distancing measures are some of the latest reminders of this, but all is not lost!
TechCongress is surging to create additional tech support during the COVID-19 crisis. Meanwhile, it is on its fifth round of placing Congressional Innovation Fellows in committee and member offices to provide advice on tech systems and policy to lawmakers. Calls to revive the Office of Technology Assessment have strong bipartisan support to ensure more technical talent joins the legislative branch. The new technology staff at the Government Accountability Office have already proved their worth during our current emergency. In fall 2019, the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University published Modernizing Congress: Bringing Democracy into the 21st Century with a series of recommendations—from digital infrastructure to capacity building—to better include civic voice in the legislative and deliberative process. The report includes in-depth case studies of Member offices and how they are connecting with constituents. The Center also published Civic Voice and Congressional COVID-19 Response, a draft playbook for connecting with constituents during the pandemic.
Join Beeck Center Fellow and report author Lorelei Kelly for a virtual conversation and learn about:
- Existing efforts to modernize Congress, including a recent civic voice pilot project, a Social Security Benefits Calculator app co-created with Code for Boston in the district of Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA)
- How to incorporate constituent, volunteer, and new talent into the legislative process
- Recommendations for implementing long-term solutions and processes
This event is generously supported by Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University. The conversation was initially slated for presentation at Code for America Summit 2020.